Have you started thinking about your career and where you want to be? If you ask most people, their answer is usually, “My plan is to wing it and see what happens.” Well, I wish them luck, but it’s definitely not the suggested approach.
Wouldn’t you rather have a course of action? Isn’t it better to chart out your options, find mentors, and build out where you want to be? Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Here are 5 ways to start your career planning and set yourself up for success.
1. Make a List of Companies/Employers you’d want to Work For: Maybe you’re not ready to search for a job right now, but that shouldn’t stop you from building a list of 10-12 perfect employers for you. Create a spreadsheet with the potential jobs they might have that you’d want and check their careers page regularly.
2. Visit Your Campus Career Services Center: Most students fail to take advantage of these very awesome and very free services provided by their institute. The folks working in your career services center are knowledgeable and trained in helping YOU find work. They also have relationships with the alumni community that work at employers that are looking for people like you.
3. Attend Networking Events: Meeting influential people in your field early on in your career is an awesome way to get ahead. Gaining even one good contact at every event is a win for you. The more people you know, the more opportunities you’ll have when you’re ready to gain employment.
4. Grow your Social Network: Where do people in your field hang out online? Are they mostly on Linkedin? Go there. Is Twitter used heavily? Set up a Twitter account. Are their many professionally blogging? Read them and think about starting your own. Doing these things helps you connect with influencers and potential co-workers one day, as well as builds up your personal brand.
5. Be Fully Prepared for the Actual Job Search: Do you have your résumé prepared the right way? Do you have references in mind? Do you know how to answer important interview questions? Spend time preparing your job search materials and your mind for the potential interviews you’ll have when you start looking.
Preparing now will lead to success later. You never want to feel lost in the dark when it comes to your career, so start now and shed some light on where you want to go.
By guest author Rich DeMatteo